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Last Updated:  Friday, 28 February, 2003, 13:49 GMT
Gladiator star Rodrigo treads the boards
Gladiator star Rodrigo is taking part in two operas in Sunderland
A horse has gone from starring in epic movie Gladiator, about the Roman Empire, to taking part in productions at Sunderland Empire.

Magnificent Andalucian stallion Rodrigo has gone from the Oscar-winning film to roles in operas Carmen and La Boheme at the Wearside theatre.

The horse carried his master Young Caesar into his first scene in Gladiator, directed by South Shields-born Ridley Scott.

Nicki Carman, who guides the horse on stage, said: "He knows his cues now, he knows when it is time to go on stage and time to leave.

Spanish discovery

"I had to prepare Rodrigo for this role because he had never done theatre before".

Gladiator tells the story of Russell Crowe who played Maximus, a Roman general who swears revenge on emperor Commodus.

Rodrigo is trained and cared for by Wayne Docksay, of Animal Acting, who discovered him in Spain.

Bizet's classic Carmen, tells the story of the beautiful gypsy girl, and Puccini's masterpiece La Boheme, tells the tragic tale of the doomed Mimi and her love for a penniless writer.

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24 Sep 02 |  Film

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